The president makes a bittersweet concession to an American norm.
Trump’s Hypocrisy Called to Question
This essay, written by Masha Gessen, a contributing op-ed writer for the New York Times, takes Donald Trump to task about the hypocrisy that drives his presidency. I highly recommend reading it. It’s well worth it!
In this essay, she accuses Donald Trump of using the old Soviet style propaganda tool called “whataboutism.” This tactic is the one that the Soviets used when the United States criticized them. It is the premise that when your behavior or actions are called to question, you deflect that criticism by asking the question, “if that’s so bad, what about the time you did so and so.”
Whenever we use to point out the many flaws of the Soviet Union, they would use this country’s history of racism, mistreatment of Native Americans, and our uninvited involvement in the affairs of other nations as the example of why we weren’t any better than they were, thus deflecting the first criticism.
This tactic is used to point out someone else’s hypocrisy. It can be a very effective tactic if used correctly. Donald Trump has shown himself to be a master of “whataboutism.” He uses it quite often, in trying to deflect the many criticisms leveled at him by the media, and people at large. Trump’s hypocrisy has largely gone unchecked due to his use of this often effective tactic.
Donald Trump has used “whataboutism” quite effectively, not only in his campaign but during a short time as president. How many times as Donald Trump pointed out someone else’s wrongdoing, every time he gets caught lying to the American people and tried to begin some policy that is racist, or otherwise wrong for this country? As I recall, he does it just about every time he takes to Twitter, his favorite instrument for communicating with the American people.
A preferred example, which Ms. Gessen uses in her excellent essay, is how Trump used this tactic is the interview he did with Bill O’Reilly, of Fox News. In this interview, when O’Reilly called Vladimir Putin a killer, Trump responds by asking the question, “Are we so innocent?” This interview is a perfect example of “whataboutism” being used effectively to deflect criticism. It was used because O’Reilly didn’t have the balls to call Trump’s hypocrisy into question, as any real journalist worth his salt would have. Of course, I think we know the standard of “journalism” practiced by Mr. O’Reilly.
It gives me hope that the American people are starting to wake the hell up and resist Trump’s hypocrisy at every level. Every day when I watch the news, I am heartened by the side of protesters in the streets. Hopefully, the resistance gains momentum. If it doesn’t, our country is lost.
- Gen. McCaffrey on Trump: “The most anti-American statement ever made by the President of the US” (americablog.com)
- ‘Sit down! Quiet!’: Watch Trump’s heated exchanges with reporters in his longest press conference as president (businessinsider.com)
- Donald Trump Reeeeeally Needs To Stop Using An Unsecured Android Phone (huffingtonpost.com)
- Seth Meyers takes a closer look at Trump’s super-rich cabinet picks (businessinsider.com)